May Tip of the Month


Sherra Forde-Kelly
ABC Case List Workshop Facilitator

Dr. Forde-Kelly will be conducting ABC's Case List Workshop in Orlando, FL on May 16th, 2015. Since we limit the number of registrants, you'll have lots of handson attention regarding the best way to craft your case list.  It is not too late to sign up.

Dr. Forde-Kelly completed medical school at the University of Florida and residency at East Carolina University. She is board certified in OB/GYN. She was a stand out in training, as well as when she attended ABC. She is the author of our drop dead gorgeous Embryology review that has made life so much easier for those of you taking your written boards. Her no nonsense, you can do anything attitude carries over to her lectures and workshops. 

ABOG 2015 WRITTEN Exam Candidates 

The exam is NEXT month – EEE GADS! For those of you finishing your residency, the end of year projects and deadlines will really compete with your remaining study time. You MUST be organized to be able to keep all those balls in the air.

It is your responsibility to schedule a seat with the Pearson VUE testing center. Seats were released after March 25, but may not be scheduled after June 3. Seats are limited as assigned “first come, first served” basis.

You need to do some soul searching and accept the fact that you simply will not be able to cover all the topics on your study plan. Have you finished the MUST KNOW topics? Our Test Topics Manual is a great resource, as it lists high yield topics and the expected test questions. Revise your study plan weekly and begin to discard those low yield topics. Plan to FINISH your ENTIRE review in MAY, as June will focus on strengthening your strengths.

You must practice with WRITTEN questions at the end of each study topic. Our Written Question Manuals are designed for exactly this. Namely they are organized by topic so you can bee line right to the questions to cross check your subject review. They have 900+ questions, plus a narrative explanation for each answer, along with references.  Another complement to your content review is our Written Exam Webinar archives. You complete 20 questions first, then follow along with our faculty-led interactive discussion of the answers incorporating our signature test taking skills strategy. We will blast you with 350+ written exam questions based on those high yield subjects. Finally, our Written Question Navigator beelines right to the subject-specific question and will save you oodles of precious time in that rapidly ticking clock.

 With one month counting, it’s important to be a lean, mean written question machine. Our Question of the Day Calendar conveniently sits right on your desk to assure that you do something daily for your exam prep and also gives you another 365 questions.

Since your exam is computerized, you must practice with tests of this same format. Processing questions on a computer screen is quite different than with the comforting familiar paper format.  ABC, in collaboration with Jolley Test Prep Services, offers computerized diagnostic tests containing 500+ written exam questions. Each question has a narrative explanation and reference, so it’s a great learning resource as well. Not only will you get your score, but the computer will also analyze why you missed the questions. Better yet, it will search for error patterns and make recommendations for corrective action.

Test Taking Technique
            You probably intuitively knew this, but studies confirm that students usually miss the questions they spehe most time on. Compare this to the lead runner. Turning to look back to see where the other runners are will just slow him down. Thus, we recommend you proceed methodically, deliberately and purposefully answering FIRST those questions for which you clearly know the answer.
            For questions that you cannot determine the answer readily (e.g. within 30 seconds), develop a system of priority for returning back to those questions AFTER you finish those for which you easily know the answers. Don’t compromise sure-pass questions by getting bogged down with the tougher questions that you will most likely get wrong anyway.
            The computer will let you flag the questions, but not by priority. As you go back through, start with those questions that you are fairly certain you can figure out, but will need a little bit of time to think through.
            Next, tackle those questions that you have to put more work into. They’re not impossible, but you’re going to have to spend considerable time.
            Finally, for those questions that you haven’t any idea (where do they find these?!), use the SAME LETTER for all your WILD GUESSES. Keep on truckin’ and don’t look back. We are not aware of any evidence-based recommendation for which letter to use, but since all questions have at least four options, but some with five, we advise against using the letter “E”. Therefore, chose either “A, B, C or D” for your wild guesses, but use the SAME letter for all, as you statistically will have a better chance of getting some correct.

Now for some sample questions from our Written Questions Manual. The answers will be in next month’s Advisor & Tip of the Month.

What type of placentation is the most common in monozygotic twins?

  1. Diamniotic/Dichorionic
  2. Monochroionic/monoamniotic
  3. Dichorionic/monoamniotic
  4. Monochroionic/Diammniotic

Patients with the gene for hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer have an increased risk for which gynecologic cancer?

  1. Ovarian
  2. Cervical
  3. Endometrial
  4. Breast
  5. Fallopian tube

All of the following are part of the Rome criteria to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome except:

  1. Pain onset with a change in frequency of stool
  2. Pain onset with a change in the form of stool
  3. Pain relief with laxatives
  4. Pain relief with defecation
  5. Abdominal pain for at least 3 days a month

Answers to LAST month’s written questions:

OB, Preconception Counseling: Answer: B - Vitamin B12
Office, Family Planning:  Answer: D - OCPs
Office, Medical Diseases:  Answer:  E - Initiate antihypertensive therapy with HCTZ

ABOG Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Candidates

Part II: Lifelong Learning - Your taxes are done or did you file an extension? Unfortunately, ABOG is not as generous as the IRS and just published the 2nd quarter articles. Of course, you can extend or drag out those first quarter articles all the way up until the December 15th deadline, but WHY?   You need to finish up those first quarter articles and start working on the 2nd quarter ones. 

Part III: Secure Written Exam -  For those of you in MOC Year 6, you must pass a written exam by December 15th, 2015. We have three products to help you prepare for and pass your written exam. For those of you who have always tapped into a review course in preparing for your board certifying exams, you’ll take great comfort in our five day review courses, September 16-20 and November 18-22.  This is not the same type of review course from the past. Just as you’ve evolved and practice evidence-based medicine, our course is designed for the adult learner, is exam-focused, and all lectures follow the national ACOG guidelines. Heck, you’ll walk away with loads of everyday practice tips, too.

Our Annual MOC Manuals summarize each of the articles AND have written questions since 2010. Think of them as Cliff notes, as they will save you oodles of time. You are also accountable for Safety and Professionalism. Remember, you completed the Safety course in your third year, but you could not print out the articles. Fortunately, ABC had the foresight to create a Safety Course Manual as well.

Finally, the Board has acknowledged that emphasis will be placed on both the Compendium and the articles. So don’t you think the highest yield will be those MOC articles that overlap with the Compendium? Lucky for you, we offer a one day MOC Written Exam Workshop on September 15th and November 17th that provides the perfect review of those overlapping MOC articles AND written questions. We know you’ll get the most out of it by attending, but sometimes you just can’t. In that case, purchasing the MOC Written Exam Workshop Binder is the next best thing.

We must be doing something right, as so far 100% of those attending the MOC Workshop and/or the course have passed since they started the exam in 2013!

Oh, just in case you think you’re coasting after you pass your written exam, think again. You still have to read the 2015 articles. No rest for the weary!

Test Taking Tip

The written exam is only 100 questions and you answer two books of fifty questions each. Generalists get to choose their books or “selectives” for each exam. Subspecialists must take the first book based upon their designated subspecialty. They then have to choose a second book from the generalist’s selectives.
Generalists: Selective Exam A & B (50 questions)
  1. Obstetrics and Gynecology and Office Practice & Women’s Health
  2. Obstetrics only
  3. Gynecology only (tends to have more Surgical GYN focus)
  4. Office Practice and Women’s Health only (primary care, office GYN & family planning focus)
Subspecialists: Selective Exam A (50 questions)
  1. Gynecologic Oncology
  2. Maternal Fetal Medicine
  3. Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility
  4. Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery (starting 2019)
            We’re getting lots of questions on how to choose your selectives. The Board gives an itemization of the exam topics. Believe or not, it is the same list for the primary written exam and the oral exam case list categories, although fortunately, the focus is much more clinical. It is well worth going to the Basic Bulletin at to look through the specific list. The focus for each of the General selectives is as follows:
  1. Obstetrics – Antepartum, Intrapartum, Postpartum.
  2. Gynecology only- Inpatient & Outpatient GYN focus, including REI, Urogyn and Oncology
  3. Office Practice and Women’s Health only - primary care, office GYN, office surgery & family planning focus
Each Selective can include “Cross Content Areas” such as
  1. Safety
  2. Anatomy & Physiology, Basic Sciences
  3. Genetics
  4. Ethics & Professionalism

For ABOG 2015 ORAL Exam Candidate

Applications for the 2015 exam are now closed. Your examination fee of $975 and case list are due by August 1st, 2015. Unfortunately, the examination fee is in addition to the application fee that you already forked over.  Simply go online to to complete this necessary, but nuisance task.

Only ONE MONTH LEFT to complete your collection of cases. At this point, you must be up-to-date with all of your past OB and GYN entries. The clock is ticking. You must now enter cases no less than EVERY WEEK.

At this point you should have three fourths, if not all, of your office patients selected. Plan to complete all 40 categories by the end of May and try to use as many categories as possible.

If you have been using the ABOG case list software, chances are you are now appreciating why your predecessors grumble they would have never used it. Don’t fret – it is helpful to at least get you familiar with the process. However, if you want to take full control over the optimal construction, we recommend you customize your own software.

Rest assured, this is really pretty easy. Come to one of our May Case List Construction Workshops that are scattered throughout the country. We’ll show you how to raise your case list head and shoulders above the other candidates. For those who are OCD, order your copy of Pass Your Oral Ob/Gyn Board Exam by Dr. Das for a complete step-by-step guide.

Before you are all consumed with finishing your case list, be proactive and register for your fall review course now.  We suggest our September 16-20.   If you discover later that you have a December or January exam, we’ll let you switch over to our November 18-22 course. We’re not just a review course, but a BOARD review course, to provide an exam focused review. Ideally, complement the content covered at the review course with an Oral Exam Workshop devoted to defending your case list.

Speaking of which, a well constructed case list makes all the difference in defending it later. S-o-o-o much is riding on your case list. Take the time to do it right. The ABC faculty can provide a Comprehensive Case List Review, as well. Send whatever you have NOW, as it is a first-come first-served basis and we get over-run starting in mid June.

Your goal is to review and incorporate your reviewer’s recommendations by June 30th. Don’t worry about studying at all this month. Your priority is to finish that case list. “Git R Done!”

Case List Construction Tip
Formatting is the most powerful tool to raise your case list head and shoulders above the others; especially in strategically pulling the examiner to cases YOU want to talk about.
Regardless of your case list software, simply putting words in ITALICS, BOLD, CAPITAL LETTERS, and Underline can make all the difference. Go the last mile and use shadowing to highlight your columns or categories. The ultimate formatting tool to optimize your organization is ● bullets.

For Subspecialist Candidates for the 2015 ABOG General Oral Board Exam.

If you are retrospectively collecting cases, go with your comfort zone. Dang, how could you have forgotten so much in such a short time? Unfortunately it’s true, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Go with the bread-and-butter cases. Remember, this is your general boards. We recommend you chose those cases that reflect high-yield topics. Our Test Topics Manual  and Pass Your Oral Ob/Gyn Board Exam by Dr. Das are excellent step-by-step guides.

Speaking of which, a well constructed case list makes all the difference in defending it later. Sooo much is riding on your case list. Take the time to do it right. The ABC faculty can provide a Comprehensive Case List Review as well. Send whatever you have NOW, as it is a first-come first-served basis and we get over-run starting in mid June.

Come to one of our Case List Construction Workshops scattered throughout the country.  We’ll show you how to raise your case list head and shoulders above the other candidates.

 Case List Construction Tip
 Up until this year, a fellow could not sit for the general oral boards until the second year of the fellowship. However, effective 2014, fellows can now apply for the accelerated track. I know you’re busy and excited to matriculate to your subspecialty, but truly- if you don’t use it, you lose it!
Remember you are sitting for your general boards. The least important case list is your specialty. In your “off subject,” you must list a minimum of 20 applied patients. Don’t limit yourself to exactly 20, as you want your case list to reflect a depth and breadth of care. Additionally, you run the risk of them running out of topics, so then they get to come up with hypothetical patients … and you could spiral out of control. Remember, YOU want to be in the driver’s seat!


For AOBOG 2015 ORAL Exam Candidates

Applications for the October, 2015 exam are due by July 1st. A heads up that your $2500 examination fee will be due by July 15th.

After many years, the AOBOG oral exam has undergone a major overhaul. They’ve changed the core topics from the traditional 10. Although they’ve kept some of the original, they’ve added some, and generalized others to much broader categories. Here are the new categories:

General Obstetrics and Gynecology:
Office Based
Hospital Based
Maternity Based
Gynecologic Oncology:
Neoplasms of the Vulva, Vagina, Cervix, Uterus, Fallopian tubes, Ovaries and those associated with Pregnancy
Female Medicine and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery:
Urinary Stress Incontinence/Genital Prolapse
Sexual Dysfunction/Pain Syndromes
Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility:
Contraception Management
Ultrasonography of the Female Pelvis
Workup and Treatment of the Infertile Couple
Maternal Fetal Medicine:
Evaluation of the High Risk Pregnancy
Early Screening Tests and Diagnostic Workup
Interventions Available during Pregnancy

    Osteopathic Philosophy and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine will be assessed regarding treatment modalities for both the obstetric and the gynecologic patient.

    Also the conduct has been changed. Although it’s still 4 hours, the candidate now rotates hourly to each of four stations. Three exam stations will use three scenarios developed from the topic list. A fourth exam station will include: visual slides, ultrasounds, video clips or monitor strips to introduce the essay type scoring.

    We have a September 16-20 course strategically timed just before your exam. Obviously we’re a bit biased, as we feel we have the ideal course; however, you should look for certain features. We recommend a BOARD review course, not just a review course, for an exam focused review. There is precious little time to wade through the volumes of material to figure out what to prioritize. Did you know our syllabus is highlighted with the ten core topics?

    Since 2011, we’re batting 99% pass rate for those who have attended our review course and/or our oral exam webinar!

    Test Taking Tips
    Congratulations if you’re in the inaugural class for the new exam format in October. Given several of the topics are so broad now, it’s critical to follow your comprehensive review with our September 16-20 course, as we will cover lots of spin off topics that you didn’t see coming. Also, this will be a sweet time to experience mock orals as a culmination to all those months of studying.
    If you’re planning to take the exam in the Spring of 2016, you should come to either our September 16-20 or November 18-22 course, because you will definitely need major help as you launch your studying.
    Finally, although the format has changed, our Oral Exam Webinar reviews the traditional 10 core topics. Since 2011, we are batting a 99% pass rate for those who have attended our review course and/or our oral exam webinar!

    Chief Residents Planning A Subspecialty Fellowship

    Subspecialty fellows are permitted to select 20 patients from their Chief resident year for their off specialty case list. In other words, GYN Oncologists, REI and Urogynecologists will need an OB list and MFMs need a GYN list. Thus, make sure to hold onto that residency log!

    Refer to the ABOG Bulletin as to how those 20 patients are selected. To be on the safe side, we recommend you collect at least 40, so you can strategically select the final 20 later. For those patients, keep a file of the following: for the GYN patients, collect the H&Ps, operative notes, pathology reports, and discharge summaries. For the OB patients, keep a file of the prenatal forms, delivery notes, discharge summaries, and postpartum notes. Don’t worry about the office patients at all, as you may compile this only during your fellowship.

    A word of caution – right now you are at your peak for general OB/GYN knowledge. Believe it or not, two years from now, your knowledge base will regress to that of an intern. Yes it’s true, if you don’t use it, you lose it. So those really cool, esoteric, bizarre, once-in-a career cases now will be a nightmare to defend later. Your greatest allies are your junior residents. If they can’t easily defend that case, cease and desist and “go fish” for another.

     Test Taking Technique
    I know you can’t wait to move on to your subspecialty training. However, you’re at your peak in your general OB/GYN knowledge. By the time you take your oral exam, you will have forgotten so much. So collect those “bread and butter” common cases now. Yeah, those boring ones you turn over to the interns. You will be ever so grateful later.
    Prior to 2014, a fellow could not sit for the general oral boards until the second year of fellowship.  However, now fellows can apply for the accelerated track. I know you’re busy and excited to matriculate into your subspecialty, but truly, if you don’t use it, you lose it! Plan to apply for the fast track just as soon as you get your congratulatory letter notifying you that you passed your written boards.


    AOBOG Osteopathic Continuous Certification in Obstetrics & Gynecology (OCC)

    Unlike the past recertification exam, the OCC written exam is offered only once annually at the spring ACOOG clinical meeting. However, the examination can be taken during the last two years of the OCC cycle, but you must pass the written exam by the end of your six-year cycle. Come to one of our fall courses - either September 16-20 or November 18-22 to jump start your studying.

    Additionally, you need to complete five Practice Performance Assessments (PPA) in a six year OCC cycle. More importantly, you must complete 3 PPA modules before you can take your written exam. Since these modules take some time to complete, we strongly recommend you begin a module in your first year of your OCC cycle and complete one module every year.

    CREOG In-service training exam participants

    Well, the exam is not for another eight months. If you scored > 200, regardless of your PGY year, then you’re in pretty good shape. It’s going to get hectic with the end of the residency year coming up and everyone preparing to move up in rank.

    If you scored < 200, that means you’re below the mean. Although CREOG will not reveal statistics, we have found that your performance level, regardless of your year, will continue. In other words, you PGY3s cannot use the excuse of being post call or on the Oncology service as the reason for poor performance. You need to be proactive to improve your score during your chief year. If you have scored < 200, or worse yet < 190, all three years, you need to take corrective measures to improve your test taking skills. To simply study more is probably not the solution. We can connect you with our Education Specialists, Martin and Jane Jolley, for a one-on-one evaluation. Just give us a call.

    ABOG no longer reports the score for the written board exam. Unfortunately, now the only predictor of your performance is your CREOG score. Therefore, you must take it very seriously. Our November 18-22 Course is the perfect time to prepare your assault, and nail the exam in January.

    Test Taking Tips
    Don’t discard your CREOG in-service training exam performance report! You now know your strong and weak topics. Come up with a plan to fill in those weak topics. Don’t let these upcoming months of opportunity slip away.

    With you every step…



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